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Desire Machine Collective

est. 2004, Guwahati, India
Live and work in Guhawati and Shillong, India

Nishan II, 2019

2-channel video
Duration 7:36 mins
Collection of the Artists
Singapore Biennale 2019 commission

Desire Machine Collective, an art collective based in Guwahati in northeastern India, explores the relationship between art, ecology, technology and activism. A long-term project, ‘Nishan’ focuses on Kashmir. Interested in depicting trauma that is alienated from time itself, the artists collected footage and photographs of everyday life in the city from an abandoned house, which later became a hideout and bunker, doing so for over a decade. Nishan II, a new commission presented at SB2019, is the series’ second work. Here, the artists have created an immersive experience; Nishan II appropriates the cityscape and soundscape of Kashmir into an endless loop of timelessness, underlining the fact that the trauma never ends.


Desire Machine Collective (est. 2004, Guwahati, India) was founded by Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya. They create films, videos, photography, sound and multi-media installations that consider space and time, with particular reference to human habitation, natural environments and their occupation. Many of their works are based in remote parts of India, including Kashmir and their home state of Assam. Their work has been widely shown: including at the New Museum (New York), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon (France), Deutsche Guggenheim (Berlin) and 54th Venice Biennale (2011). They live and work in Guwahati, India.